Trucks and SUVs

2023 Best Subcompact SUV: Subaru Crosstrek

Subcompact SUVs form one of the most hotly contested vehicle segments in the Canadian market, and having to choose a single winner from a list of all models currently available is no easy task.

Our panel of more than 20 automotive experts considered value, efficiency, engineering, user friendliness and numerous other factors to generate a shortlist of finalists for this popular vehicle category. With initial voting completed, the Honda HR-V, Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, Volkswagen Taos, and Subaru Crosstrek were shortlisted.

A final round of voting pitted these finalists against one another, leaving just one machine victorious: the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek, which has been named the Best Subcompact SUV in the 2023 AutoTrader Awards.

Now well into its second generation, Subaru’s entry-level crossover model combines key attributes of value to Canadian shoppers in a package that’s reasonably priced, highly capable, and well-regarded by experts and its loyal owner’s community alike.

Innovative safety tech powered by Subaru’s EyeSight system features recent upgrades to performance and functionality, while strong crash test results and expert safety scores help drive further purchase confidence for many Crosstrek shoppers.

A new, direct-injected boxer four-cylinder engine and retuned continuously variable transmission (CVT) help treat the driver’s fuel dollars with respect. While generously equipped, the Crosstrek’s interior logically clusters common controls together for easy access with little searching or second guessing.

Look for a 2.0-litre boxer four-cylinder with 152 horsepower, or an available 2.5-litre boxer four-cylinder with 182 hp. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or CVT, depending on the model grade selected.

Add in standard all-wheel drive, rugged exterior design, generous ground clearance, and a standard X-Mode system for enhanced grip and confidence in low-traction situations, and the Crosstrek serves up an effective invitation to get in, get comfortable, and enjoy the drive with little concern for the terrain or weather.

Drivers enjoy an excellent driving position with good outward sightlines and a commanding forward view, which works hand in hand with one of the Crosstrek’s very best attributes: its suspension.

Even in the backroads and trails, the Crosstrek feels expertly tuned to deliver consistent ride comfort across a wide range of surfaces with a robust, quiet, and durable feel dialled in to impart confidence. After all, exploring new roads and trails is more enjoyable when it doesn’t sound or feel like your crossover is about to cough up a strut.

Drivers frequently using their Crosstrek in a rough-road setting will find surprisingly good ride comfort with excellent body motion control, contributing to a feel of quality and security. This combination of control, comfort, and confidence lie at the core of the Crosstrek’s mass appeal.

A basic Crosstrek opens the bidding from about $25,000, and a total of eight trim grades can be selected. Subaru’s EyeSight safety system is available from the Convenience grade ($27,195) and up, while the popular Outdoor trim with Eyesight model ($31,495) serves up a more rugged look and additional power from the larger of the Crosstrek’s two engine options. The top-line Limited with Eyesight comes in from under $36,000.

The Crosstrek’s secret sauce might just be its delivery of a familiar driving experience that satisfies the expectations of new and previous owners alike. Here’s a machine running a range of four-cylinder engines proven for their efficiency and refinement, connected to an AWD system with a strong reputation for serving up drama-free traction across the gamut of winter and off-road driving conditions, and all delivered up in a package that’s flexible, rugged, and tuned for a comfortable drive almost no matter what comes its way.